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Sotheby's announces 'I have to stay at home', an auction for lockdown
Howard Hodgkin, Through a Glass Darkly, est. £100,000-150,000. Courtesy Sotheby's.

LONDON.- “I have to stay at home’ is an auction for lockdown: a sale conceived by a Sotheby’s team who are stuck working from home, for collectors who will likely be stuck bidding from home.

Taking inspiration from a Martin Kippenberger painting that carries the inscription ‘I have to stay at home’, Sotheby's challenged themselves to build an auction from scratch in just three weeks. The mantra has always been to ‘source globally and sell locally’. Here, Sotheby's have flipped that on its head, sourcing everything locally in London with a global online audience of collectors in mind.

The sale gently alludes to the lockdown through a number of works that seem particularly relevant to now. But, more importantly, it includes top quality works that wouldn’t be out of place in our flagship Evening Sales – signalling the fresh opportunities and possibilities presented by the new world we’re living in.” - Alex Branczik, Head of Contemporary Art for Europe

I have to stay at home | Sale Highlights
Following the $1.3 million sale of George Condo’s Antipodal Reunion (2005) in April, which set a new record for any painting sold in a Sotheby’s online auction at the time, Condo’s monumental Woman with Golden Hair (2018) leads this next sale. Rendered in the artist’s most sought-after style, with an idiosyncratic nod to Picasso, the painting is estimated at £900,000-1,200,000.

Further standout artworks include Anselm Keifer‘s Le Dormeur de Val (2014, est. £650,000-850,000), inspired by Arthur Rimbaud’s eponymous poem penned during the Franco-Prussian war of 1870. The celebrated verse, recounting the story of a wounded soldier lying in nature, forms the backdrop to this richly textured and varied canvas. Zao Wou-Ki’s sublime 28.5.65 (1965, est. £600,000-800,000) was executed during the artist’s Hurricane period (1959 – 1972), considered the high point of his career. Bridget Riley’s Measure for Measure (2018, est. £350,000-450,000) hails from the artist’s Messengers series, which directly informed her landmark commission for the National Gallery in 2019. And, finally, Through a Glass Darkly (2015-16, est. £100,000-150,000) is of Howard Hodgkin’s very final works.

The sale itself borrows its title from an inscription on Martin Kippenberger canvas ‘Copa und Ipa’ (1986, est. £60,000-80,000) that reads ‘I have to stay home’. Created following the artist’s return to Dresden after a hedonistic sojourn on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, the painting pays tribute to forgotten days in the summer sun.

Kippenberger’s canvas is joined by several works that allude to the way many of might be feeling right now: ‘Trapped in Suburban Hell’ (Grayson Perry, 1994, est. £60,000-80,000), ‘Gold Prison’ (Peter Halley, 1999, est. £35,000-45,000), ‘The Lonesome Babies’ (Yoshitomo Nara, 1996, est. £50,000-70,000) and ‘Amor (Red Blue)’ (Robert Indiana, 1998, est. £150,000-200,000). Jeff Koons explores ideas around claustrophobia and entrapment with his bronze ‘Snorkel (Generic)’, a life-saving device transformed into a deadweight, potentially life-threatening, object (1985, est. £80,000-120,000).

Sotheby’s Online sales of Contemporary Art
‘I have to stay at home’ is the sixth online auction staged by Sotheby’s global Contemporary Art team since lockdown. This includes the recent Day Sale of Contemporary Art (New York, 14 May) that set a new benchmark for the any online sale at Sotheby's, achieving $13.7 million, more than double the previous record of $6.3 million set by the Contemporary Curated sale three weeks earlier (21 April).

Three Contemporary works have exceeded $1 million in these sales to date: George Condo, Antipodal Reunion ($1.3 million, 21 April); Christopher Wool, Untitled ($1.2 million, 14 May), Brice Marden, Window Study ($1.1 million, 14 May).

Sotheby’s online sales so far this year have totalled $127.9 million, more than six times the year to date total in 2019. Since lockdown (20 March) alone, Sotheby’s has staged 55 auctions in five different selling locations across the world, with 4.500 lots sold.

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